How breaking LaVine news could hurt the Spurs in the near future

 Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

After a lackluster start to the season, the Chicago Bulls are now reportedly willing to move on from their best player, Zach LaVine. The Bulls' reported openness to trade LaVine is bad news for the San Antonio Spurs, who own a future protected first-round pick from the DeMar DeRozan sign-and-trade.

The trade netted the Spurs the Bulls top-10 protected pick in 2025, and if it doesn't convey, it would be top-8 protected in 2026 and 2027. By possibly moving on from LaVine, it could signal a rebuild, and that could jeopardize San Antonio's chances of acquiring a lottery pick from the Bulls in the distant future.

The Bulls moving LaVine could hurt one of the Spurs' best assets

Though the Bulls may trade LaVine, it doesn't necessarily close the door on the Spurs receiving their pick, but it will likely devalue it. After all, assuming that Chicago blows it up this season, they would have to be among the worst teams in the NBA for the next four seasons to keep that pick from conveying. It's possible, with most rebuilds taking at least that long, including the Spurs', though San Antonio didn't tear it down until having missed the playoffs for three straight seasons.

On the other hand, the Bulls would be tearing it down after missing the playoffs last season but making it the season before. That could give Chicago several cracks at a top-3 pick and potentially shorten their rebuild, or at least possibly lead to incremental improvement year over year. That would hopefully give the Spurs a chance at the pick conveying in 2027, though the Bulls would have to nail their rebuild and they haven't made a lot of great front-office decisions recently.

Ultimately, the Spurs aren't reliant on the Bulls' pick to complete their rebuild. Still, having a potential lottery pick a few seasons after drafting Victor Wembanyama would have been the icing on the cake. That may still happen, but a Bulls firesale makes it less likely.